This is not a new requirement but it is only recently that the requirement has been more strictly enforced. Many international travelers may not realize that having an unexpired passport is sometimes not enough to enter certain foreign countries.
— Auto France Inc. (@AutoFranceInc) March 16, 2016
U.S. citizens traveling on passports that expire in fewer than six months have increasingly been denied airline boarding or been detained upon arrival in certain foreign destinations, including popular European travel destinations in the Schengen area.
Why you need to renew your passport now
Read: Travel Alert: IRS Can Now Cancel Your Ticket
U.S. passport holders who will have less than six months validity on their passport for upcoming international travel through the end of 2016 should consider renewing their passports now, so they can avoid delays due to increased passport demand. It is especially important to check the passports of any minors who may be traveling.
Passports for minors have a shorter validity period (5 years) than passports for adults (10 years) and thus may expire sooner.
Read: Traveling And Forgot Your ID? No Problem
A decade ago, the U.S. government issued stricter standards for state-issued IDs, including drivers licenses. But four states have refused to comply: Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York.
The deadline for upgrading is coming up in 2016. If those four states don’t upgrade their ID systems by the deadline, the TSA will demand that residents of those four states use passports rather than drivers licenses to board flights next year. About 9.5 million drivers licenses have been issued in those states, according to government licensing records.
It’s possible that fewer people will be impacted if states take action soon. States have desperately begged for extensions. Minnesota didn’t get one.
Passports for domestic travel?
While not every country requires six months of validity on your passport, it is an increasingly common rule. If you’re close to that mark, renew yours now.